Building and maintaining our workforce
the right people in the right places with the right skills doing the right jobs
Written by: Sarah Poppy, Marketing and Communications Officer, City of Salisbury
Photo: Skye Browne, Senior Coordinator Organisational Wellbeing and Sarah Poppy, Marketing and Communications Officer from City of Salisbury
One of the key challenges facing Local Government now and in the future is the need to challenge, engage and retain critical staff.
This was the central question of this year’s LGMA Management Challenge Pre-Challenge Task.In order to tackle this task the City of Salisbury’s team Future Proofed undertook significant local, national and international research into workforce planning and retention trends. This research was supplemented with a series of in house interviews, staff surveys and a review of council statistics to understand the specific challenges faced by the City of Salisbury.
The national organisers of the LGMA Challenge chose four teams to present their pre-challenge task at the national LGMA Congress in Cairns in May. Our pre-challenge task was chosen as one of the top four submissions nationally. My colleague Skye Browne and I were the lucky two from our team invited to present our project at this prestigious event to around 400 senior management delegates and participate in a Q&A session with the other three teams. The four presentations were extremely well received by the audience.
Each team was given 15 minutes to present the findings of their report. Our Action Plan was broken down into four areas of focus; reward and recognition, remuneration and benefits, career development and workplace culture. We highlighted one or two key initiatives under each focus area in our presentation.
Surveys with our staff highlighted that reward and recognition is the number one way to retain staff and it plays a significant role in why they may choose to stay and not seek employment elsewhere. At the City of Salisbury there is a project team looking into a reward and recognition framework so our team have recommended the idea to develop guidelines for managers to use when rewarding and recognising staff.
City of Salisbury has an excellent staff development program so our team have recognised that while it is important to continue to develop our staff there is scope to increase career pathway opportunities by working with other councils to investigate options such as secondments, resource sharing and employee pools. This is an opportunity to enhance career development opportunities while retaining staff within Local Government.
Our report highlights the opportunity to improve our mentoring program by expanding it to an LGMA level to engage and grow leaders across Local Government.
All of these areas we highlighted impact on workplace culture which ultimately impacts on staff morale. Retention comes from an employees connection to an organisation and its people.
The key points we left the audience with were that in order to retain your staff it is vital to listen to their needs, collaboration is the key and that we need to work together as an industry to ensure that we have the right people in the right places with the right skills doing the right jobs.